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Maryland

Johnny Holliday Talks Len Bias

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(Photo by Noren Trotman/ NBAE/ Getty Images)

(Photo by Noren Trotman/ NBAE/ Getty Images)

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University of Maryland play-by-play announcer Johnny Holliday joined The Vinny and Rob Show on 105-7 THE FAN Wednesday morning to discuss the tragedy of Len Bias losing his life.

On June 19, 1986 Len Bias would lose his life to a drug overdose and Johnny Holliday recalled that day from a personal standpoint. Holliday was working in Washington D.C. when he received a phone call from Leeland Memorial Hospital and the initial report was that Bias had suffered a heart attack. On his way to the hospital he received another phone call stating that Len Bias had passed away.

Bias had just been drafted number 2 overall in the 1986 NBA Draft and had a verbal contract with Reebok for an endorsement deal. Widely recognized as the best basketball player to ever wear a Terrapin’s jersey Bias was taken before his prime.

Holliday recalls the scene on University Maryland’s campus from that day, “It was a scene of absolute disbelief and shock that I will never forget. Seeing the look on people’s faces and people crying and people not knowing the full story..” It took not only the campus numerous years to rebound from the tragedy but also the basketball program.

Rob gave insight on how excited Larry Bird was when the Celtics drafted Bias. Bird was planning on attending the rookie mini camp just to play with Bias. Red Auerbach believed that Bias could save and turn around the Celtics franchise.

Holliday believed that the combination of Bird and Bias could have been greatest of their era. In his eyes, Len Bias had the physical and mental prowess to be as good as Jordan or even better. It was a massive loss for the entire NBA because Bird and Bias could have filled arenas nationwide.

When asked by Vinny who was one current player that reminds him of Bias, Holliday answered with Dez Wells. The leaping ability, drive to basket, and overall athleticism draws a comparison between the two for him. The only thing lacking for Wells is the shooting ability. No one else comes close to having the entire package that Bias had according to Holliday.

(Programming Note: Intern Zach wrote and posted this article as part of his internship program with CBS Baltimore. Zach is a Communications & History major at Loyola University Maryland.)

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